5 Best Adidas Basketball Shoes in 2023

Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic on
5 Best Adidas Basketball Shoes in 2023
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Adidas is a trusted brand when it comes to sportswear. The Three Stripes’ basketball shoes and other apparel always go neck to neck with the competing Nike products. Basketball, on the other hand, is a recognized sport practically everywhere.

You might be one of the people now who are seeking which Adidas basketball is most appropriate for your requirements. If that is the case, we like to welcome you with a list of our chosen top picks!

We got our hands on over 30 pairs of Adidas basketball and we played in each of them so we can really discern what each shoe features on and off the court. 

Best Adidas basketball shoes overall

What makes it the best?

Among all the Adidas basketball shoes that we used in our games, it’s the Harden Vol. 7 that left the most lasting mark. Its amazing performance was due to several factors including but definitely not limited to (1) a close-to-the-ground setup, (2) amazing impact protection, and (3) impressive structural flexibility.

Our caliper in the lab measured the heel stack to be 27.5 mm high, making it thinner than the 30.0 mm average. Likewise, the forefoot stack is also thinner at 18.2 mm when the average is 21.6 mm. Having this setup allowed us to feel the ground more, enhancing our control over our movements.

Compared to the average, the midsole tooling of the Adidas Harden Vol. 7 felt a lot softer. Our HA durometer gave it a softness rating of 11.0 when the average goes as high as 26.6. The soft cushion kept us pain-free throughout our games.

It was also quite easy to move as the Harden Vol. 7 truly felt flexible. Our lab assessments only confirmed our initial observations. We specifically found that this shoe only needed 34.6N of force to bend at 90 degrees. The typical basketball shoe would need 40.9N. 

We would have loved this shoe more had it been lighter. At 16.44 ounces or 466 grams, it’s definitely heavier than average (14.22 oz or 403g) and we felt it during our runs.


  • Super amazing traction on dustless courts
  • Heel-to-toe transition is smooth
  • Well-pronounced court feel
  • Fairly dependable impact protection
  • Comfortable and supportive heel area
  • Very good overall containment
  • Laces offers exceptional lockdown
  • True-to-size fit
  • Easy to put on and take off


  • Ventilation has to be improved
  • Shoe is on the heavier side
Full review of Adidas Harden Vol. 7

Adidas basketball shoes with the best comfort

Adidas Dame 8

What makes it the best?

The Adidas Dame 8 felt so comfortable that moment we stepped into it. The underfoot felt soft and was a total angel. This shoe also delivered so much stability that it greatly boosted our confidence. The shoe also delivered a solid protection against rollovers. These benefits erased all doubts that this is indeed the best shoe for comfort that Adidas has to offer.

Using our HA durometer in the lab, we learned that the midsole is way softer (20.3) than average (26.6). This meant that our foot got the pampering that it deserved during harsh landings and sharp cuts.

Using a caliper, we learned that the midsole platform is 119.0 mm wide at the forefoot while it’s 99.1 mm wide at the heel. These numbers add 5.7 mm and 8 mm to the average. The Dame 8 is really serious when it comes to stability.

We are glad that we never had to worry about ankle rolls while wearing the Adidas Dame 8. After testing its resistance through manual twists and other maneuvers in the lab, we gave this shoe a score of 4 out of 5 for rigidity. The rigid structure surely helped with stability. 

The Adidas Dame 8 is unfortunately not the most flexible hoop shoe there is. Our assessments revealed that it needed 41.9N of force to bend at 90 degrees, making it slightly more resistant than the average shoe which only needed 40.9N.


  • Good traction on clean courts
  • Impact protection in the heel
  • Forefoot responsiveness
  • Secure lockdown
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Side-to-side stability
  • Wide-foot friendly
  • Okay for outdoor courts


  • Dust magnet
  • Fiddly heel lining
Full review of Adidas Dame 8

Best budget Adidas basketball shoes

What makes it the best?

At $100 per pair (the average is $134), the Harden Stepback 3 from Adidas is surely not the cheapest out there. Still, we consider it as the most valuable budget pick among all shoes from the Three Stripes because of three things: (1) the amazing durability of its outsole, (2) effective impact protection, and (3) impressive stability.

The Dremel tests we did in the lab ended up like laughable jokes for the Harden Stepback 3’s outsole. Our Dremel drilling didn't even make a significant dent on it! The damage is only 0.2 mm deep, which is far better than the 1.1 mm of damage incurred by the typical hoop shoe.

When it comes to impact protection, this Harden shoe is not to be overlooked. Our feet were effectively kept free from pain during our games. Our lab assessments only confirmed the comfortable softness that we enjoyed on the court. Our HA durometer gave the midsole a rating of 21.6 when the average is as high as 26.6.  

We attribute the stability that we enjoyed to this shoe’s amazingly wide platform. Using a caliper, we learned that the platform is 117.0 mm wide at the forefoot while it’s 96.4 wide at the heel. These numbers mean that, compared to the average, the platform is 3.7 mm and 5.3 mm wider.

Players who love well-ventilated shoes should stay away from the Harden Stepback 3, though. It only got a score of 2 over 5 in our in-lab breathability tests.


  • Incredibly good traction
  • A lot of court feel
  • Accommodates orthotics
  • Comfortable wraparound fit
  • Sufficiently supportive
  • Wide platform for stability
  • Great for centres and guards
  • Affordable


  • A bit weighty
  • Not the most breathable
  • Poor upper durability
Full review of Adidas Harden Stepback 3

Adidas basketball shoes with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

When it comes to impact protection, the Trae Young 2 reigns supreme over other basketball shoes from Adidas. Our HA durometer gave the shoe’s midsole a rating of 11.5, making it much much softer than the average hoop shoes that gets a 26.6. Needless to say, this shoe worked well in keeping our steps completely pain-free. Aside from the cushioning, we also loved the shoe’s upper durability and structural flexibility.

Our Dremel drilling on the toebox barely left a mark. Hence, we did not hesitate to give this shoe a perfect 5 for upper durability. Players who want a shoe that lasts should consider this pick.

Accommodating the natural flexions of our feet was also not a problem for the Adidas Trae Young 2. Our digital force gauge reported that we only needed to exert this 31.4N of force to bend this shoe at 90 degrees. This requirement is far lower than the 40.9N needed by the average hoop shoe.

Wide-footers are clearly not the Trae Young 2’s target market. The widest part of the toebox is only 92.6 mm, making it far narrower than the 101.0 mm average.


  • Amazing traction on clean courts
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transition
  • Very comfortable upper
  • Super plush impact protection with Boost
  • Good energy return
  • Excellent support and lockdown
  • Unique visual appearance


  • Heavier than average
  • Seriously hard to put on
  • Not the best for outdoors
Full review of Adidas Trae Young 2

Best Adidas basketball shoes for guards

What makes it the best?

We are sure that the DON Issue #4 is the best for guards in Adidas’s lineup because of its three standout benefits: a well-balanced cushioning system, twist-resistant base, and an excellently flexible construction. These benefits allowed us to be more agile on the court.

In the lab, we assessed the midsole’s softness using an HA durometer. This device gave the cushion a 27.3, which is just around the 26.6 average. This setup allowed us to experience a good blend of impact protection and energizing stiffness. 

Speaking of stiffness, the base was also rigid enough to ward off any possibility of twisting. After giving the shoe a good manual twist in the lab, we concluded that its torsional rigidity is deserving of a perfect 5. This benefit allowed us to go faster with confidence.

Despite the twist-resistant base, the shoe still managed to have a lot of linear flexibility. Compared to the average basketball shoe that needs 40.9N of force to bend at 90 degrees, this shoe is much more flexible. It needs only 29.9N to bend at the same angle.

Ventilation is a problem, we must say. We could only give it a disappointing 1 out of 5 for breathability after smoke couldn’t pass through its upper material easily during our lab assessment.


  • Consistent grip
  • Lighter than average
  • Balanced impact protection and court feel
  • Very stable platform
  • Great ankle support for a low-top
  • Lockdown is super secure
  • Quite a flexible sole
  • Amazingly durable upper
  • Wraps around comfortably


  • Not for outdoors
  • Firm cushioning lacks bounce
Full review of Adidas D.O.N. Issue #4

Comparison of the 5 best Adidas basketball shoes

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Adidas signature basketball shoes

Let’s face it: no matter how versatile a basketball shoe is claimed to be, it’s never bound to please everybody. There will always be cushioning that is too hard or a material too flimsy; it all depends on the wearer’s physique and style of play.


Example: Adidas Dame 7 from the Damian Lilliard collection

Good thing that Adidas has four signature athletes that buyers can easily compare their profiles and playstyles against. Simply put, if a buyer’s descriptions match that of say, James Harden, then Harden shoes are probably the ones for him.


James Harden

Donovan Mitchell

Damian Lillard

Derrick Rose



220 lbs

Shooting/Point Guard


215 lbs

Shooting Guard


195 lbs

Point Guard


190 lbs

Point Guard


focuses on quick footwork to trick defenders and create space

similar to Dame’s and Wade’s shiftiness and drives.

reliant on quick direction and speed changes and quick runs to the basket

does a lot of jumps and on-court acrobatics

All four of Adidas’s signature athletes are guards. Hence, their shoes are expected to pay particular focus on court feel and responsiveness to accommodate guards’ quick direction changes and sprints to the basket.

However, signature shoes for James Harden and Derrick Rose might be a bit friendlier to big men. Harden is himself a really big man, so it’s necessary to add a bit of cushion in the fray. Though Rose is relatively small, his acrobatics-infused jumpshots  necessitate additional cushioning for more pronounced impact protection.

Adidas non-signature shoes: What are they good for?

Like Nike and Jordan, Adidas also resurrects old hoop shoes. One of the most notable is the Adidas Pro Model 2G. It is a reprise of a 2000s favorite, and its wearers include the then high school sensation LeBron James.

Aside from performance retros and sought-after basketball shoes for James Harden, Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard, and Donovan Mitchell, Adidas also has newly minted non-signature offers in its roster. They are often cheaper, so they are more appealing to a lot of buyers. Presented below are the two most noteworthy.

Adidas N3xt L3v3l

The N3XT L3V3L series is quite unique because of their laceless construction. Shoes from this line aim to be the most supportive without adding so much weight and bulk. The collection’s 2021 release features a data-driven Futurenatural construction to further ensure a secure and streamlined foot lockdown.

What sets the best Adidas basketball shoes apart

Adidas always gives Nike and other brands a run for their money because the Three Stripes take competition very seriously. Their product development labs are always busy producing shoe technologies that give Adidas hoop shoes their unique mark.

Cushioning technologies




Composed of specially developed EVA, Adiprene absorbs shock and provides sufficient energy return.


An enhanced version of Adiprene, Adiprene+ provides more energy rebound without sacrificing comfort.


Boost is made of thousands of expanded TPU particles. It provides energy return, comfort, durability, flexibility, and utility in a wide range of weather conditions.


Bounce is firmer than Boost. It is infused with anti-collision protectors to maintain its integrity. 


Cloudfoam is made of an EVA compound, making it plush and lightweight. It relieves pressure just like memory foam.


Made of “super light” materials, Lighstrike aims to provide the perfect balance of impact protection and responsiveness.


Upper technologies


Futurenatural is an innovative data-driven process that involves the production of a seamless one-piece upper for the best fit. This is first used on the Harden Vol. 5. 


A Primeknit upper is purposefully knitted as a single piece to minimize stitching and gluing. It’s breathable and soft. 


Sprintframe is a light, supportive, and durable midfoot chassis. It is inspired by bridges’ ability to stably support massive weight.


Made of durable synthetic, Sprintskin is designed to provide reinforcement and support for intense lateral movements.


Sprintweb is a light, sturdy, and supportive structure used in the uppers of many Adidas performance models.


How we test basketball shoes

One of our pet peeves here at RunRepeat is an ill-defined and unelaborated review, not to mention a biased one. Naturally, we try so hard to be far from what we hate. So here are the things we do in fulfilling a jam-packed, honest review:

  • We check out the shoes out of our shopping carts by paying with our own cash. 
  • We play basketball using these Adidas basketball shoes. We use time and time again before we form our impressions.
  • We perform various lab tests, which involve breaking the shoes into pieces. We measure their 30+ parameters and we compare the values to the averages. 
Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic has been playing basketball for over 22 years. Like Manu Ginobili, he’s a left-hander whose moves led him to a better career-shooting percentage than the Argentine himself. After playing professionally for 10 years, Dimitrije moved to coaching for two seasons before he became a basketball statistician for StatScore, and FanSided contributor for the San Antonio Spurs. Dimitrije loves to tell hoop stories through numbers and graphics and has been featured on Fansided, FiveThirtyEight, Eurohoops, and TalkBasket among the others.